Chinese Solar Panel Manufacturer to Open Plant in Arizona

Chinese Solar Panel Manufacturer to Open Plant in Arizona. Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., a China-based maker of solar modules, recently announced plans to open its first U.S. manufacturing plant, near Phoenix.

The plant will have an initial production capacity of 30 megawatts and is expected to begin production in the third quarter of 2010.

The Suntech plant will employ more than 75 full-time workers at launch and may double its staff within the year if the North American market grows as expected, according to the company.

Suntech said it selected the Phoenix area “because of Arizona’s leadership in research through Arizona State University, and statewide renewable energy policies, particularly its Renewable Energy Standard and distributed generation set-aside, as well as a supportive local business climate represented by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.”

‘Long-Term, Strategic Investment in the North American Market’

Locating the plant close to Suntech’s U.S. customers will reduce the time, costs and emissions associated with long-distance shipping of Suntech panels, the company said.

“This is the first step in what I see as a long-term, strategic investment in the North American market,” said Suntech Chairman and CEO Zhengrong Shi. “Over the last two years we have grown our U.S. team to more than 60 employees. As a result of that effort, we have developed a network of more than 200 solar dealers and integrators installing Suntech products and are actively involved with a number of large-scale solar project developers serving the utility market.

“We also have developed strong partnerships with U.S. companies such as MEMC of Pasadena, Texas, our largest supplier of silicon wafers used in our modules. The leadership shown by the U.S. government in advancing renewable energy will only improve the environment for further investments in the coming years.”

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